Justin Amaluzor’s first professional goal was not enough for a young Barnet side who, despite a strong second-half showing, lost their final EFL Checkatrade Trophy match 2-1 to Peterborough United at The Hive.
The Posh led after just six minutes when Paul Taylor tucked home at the back post from point-blank range. But the Bees grew into the game and thoroughly deserved their second-half equaliser, Amaluzor spinning his marker and firing home.
However, with penalties looming, Peterborough snuck a winner six minutes from time when George Moncur slotted home from close range.
In a side featuring six changes, Dwight Pascal became the youngest player to play for Barnet’s first team after making his full debut at the age of 15.
In midfield, Wesley Fonguck was handed his first start since the FA Trophy replay defeat against Concord Rangers in 2014.
Exciting playmaker Fumnaya Shomotun was given his second start this season in the EFL Checkatrade Trophy after featuring against Norwich City in matchday two.
On the bench Martin Allen included Joe Payne, Ephron Mason-Clark, Rio Connell, Tyler Brown and Tobi Coker, all of whom are with Dean Selvey’s Under-18s side.
The two teams barely had the chance to settle before Peterborough took the lead in the sixth minute.
Full-back Hayden White advanced down the right-hand side and slung in a low cross which Taylor could hardly fail to convert at the back post.
The Bees made their first change of the game a minute after falling behind, Sam Muggleton replaced by Payne who was making his first-team debut.
And it was Payne who had Barnet’s first effort on goal a few minutes later, skipping forward and earning a corner with a rasping left-footed drive from 20 yards.
That effort lifted the hosts and more good work from Fonguck earned Barnet a corner shortly afterwards as the young Bees grew in confidence.
Peterborough’s next chance came from a corner shortly before the half-hour mark, centre-back Ricardo Almeida Santos getting up and heading just wide of the far post.
Jamie Stephens had been enjoying a quiet evening until that point but was called upon the 33rd minute to tip Lee Angol’s effort around the post. He then made subsequent routine stops from Taylor and Angol.
Nana Kyei’s influence on the game from the Bees’ midfield was growing by the minute and the Under-21 midfielder earned another Barnet corner seven minutes before the break when his left-footed strike was deflected around the post.
However, Barnet could not muster an equaliser before the break and went into the changing rooms 1-0 down.
Peterborough had the first chance after the break, Gwion Edwards bringing a good stop out of Stephens with a low shot towards the near post.
The Bees’ second change came seven minutes into the second half, Amaluzor replacing Shomotun in attack.
He nearly put Barnet on level terms when fellow sub Mason-Clark hooked the ball into his path. But Posh stopper McGee blocked the shot with his foot and Akpa Akpro scooped the rebound over.
Peterborough’s first chance of the second half finally came on the hour mark, Stephens doing well to beat out Angol’s fierce drive.
Angol, who had been by far the Posh’s biggest threat, had another chance two minutes later when he was picked out on the far side of the box. However, Bees keeper Stephens made himself big to block 1v1.
Stephens again came out on top less than 60 seconds later, somehow getting a touch on Angol’s low effort which looked destined for the bottom corner.
Sixteen minutes after his introduction Amaluzor equalised. Good build-up down the left saw Kyei work the ball worked into the forward’s path. Amaluzor turned his marker and fired across Luke McGee into the far corner to level.
Barnet nearly went in front for the first time in the 73rd minute but Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw his fierce strike palmed away by Posh keeper McGee.
But, six minutes from time, Peterborough ensured they would end their involvement in the Checkatrade Trophy with a win, Moncur converting Taylor’s inviting low cross
The Bees continued to create chances with Amaluzor going close to forcing a penalty shoot-out.
Bira Dembele hooked a hopeful ball forward and Akpa Akpro used all his experience to help the ball into Amaluzor’s path. But the young forward saw his shot blocked by McGee.
The Bees are next in action at Grimsby Town in EFL League Two on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Barnet: Stephens; Pascal, Sesay, Dembele (c), Muggleton (Payne 9); Nicholls, Kyei, Fonguck (Mason-Clark 58), Tomlinson; Shomotun (Amaluzor 52); Akpa Akpro.
Subs: K. McKenzie-Lyle (GK), Connell, Brown, Coker.
Peterborough United: McGee; White, Tafazolli (c), Santos, Binnom-Williams; Chettle, Nabi (Stevens 70), Moncur, Edwards (Oduwa 60); Angol, Taylor (Douglas 87).
Subs: Tyler (GK), Freestone, Penfold, Goode.
Referee: Andy Woolmer.
Attendance: 393 (111 Peterborough supporters).